Cool Papa Bell, Sold At Fasig-Tipton’s Lexington Standardbred Sale, Makes History With Hambletonian Upset, Owner Sets Sights On Kentucky Derby

By Mike Farrell, Meadowlands Media Relations

Cool Papa Bell, the trotter named for the ballplayer, carved his own legend by pulling off the biggest upset in Hambletonian history on Saturday at the Meadowlands, paying $106 to win.

His 1:51.3 victory was a stunning conclusion to a stakes-laden afternoon on a day when temperatures soared into the 90s at Big M.

For Jim Campbell, it was also a memorable day as he became the third trainer to win the $1 million Hambletonian and the filly companion event, the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, in the same year. Fashion Schooner paid $14 for her Oaks upset earlier in the day.

Campbell, the brother of Hall of Fame driver John Campbell, joined the elite circle occupied only by Jimmy Takter and Jan Johnson.

The Oaks surprise was just a hint of things to come:

“It’s unbelievable,” Campbell said. “It’s something that I never dreamed could happen because it’s so hard to get a horse to get into one of the races. To come out and win both of them, I’m just very blessed. I’ve gone out of here many nights when things didn’t go good in my truck, and be mad. A day like today erases any bad day I’ve ever had in horse racing.”

It was the second Hambletonian win for Campbell, who trained Tagliabue to victory in 1995.

Cool Papa Bell gave rising star Todd McCarthy the biggest driving win of his blossoming career.

McCarthy, to borrow a Thoroughbred expression, gave Cool Papa Bell a “ground-saving trip.” Away in the back of the pack, Cool Papa Bell threaded his way around horses to hug the pylons, moving into contention rounding the second turn.

Up front, 3-5 favorite Rebuff was on the lead and trying to close the deal. When he weakened, ultimately finishing sixth, an upset started to percolate. Cool Papa Bell shook loose at the top of the lane, angling outside for his first clear path in the scramble to the finish.

“We did get fortunate with a couple of breakers,” Campbell said. “That did help us. People kept moving off the rail and he kept advancing, which was the winning move. Todd deserves all the credit for that. Instead of worrying about getting into a slow outer tier, he figured to take a shot up the inside.”

From that point, it was up to the overlooked gelding.

“Out of the turn, I didn’t know they were still looking pretty cozy there,” McCarthy said. “I wasn’t quite sure how much I’d have left there, too. But when that little fella straightened, he had his mind on the job today and halfway down the stretch, I knew if everything kept going well, we’d be right there.”

Cool Papa Bell won by three-quarters of a length over the filly Joviality S, with Temporal Hanover third to give trainer Marcus Melander the second- and third-place finishers.

New York-bred Cool Papa Bell, who is by Chapter Seven out of Thai Optional, by Muscle Hill, posted his seventh win in 17 career starts for Scott Farber’s Runthetable Stables, from Montvale, N.J.

Farber paid $100,000 for Cool Papa Bell, previously named Seven Year Itch, at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Lexington selected yearling sale for Standardbreds, the most he had ever paid for a horse. He told now that he has won the Hambletonian he plans to win one of Thoroughbred racing’s most coveted trophies.

“I’m a goal-oriented guy, and I always said once I won the Hambletonian I’d move my focus to the Kentucky Derby,” he said after Cool Papa Bell’s upset at The Meadowlands. “So I’ll start rallying the troops and figure out how to do that.”

Farber, a college baseball player and student of the sport, changed the horse’s name to honor the ballplayer rumored to be among the fastest players the sport had ever produced.

“I was hoping the horse would live up to the great ballplayer’s name,” Farber said. “He’s done just that.”

The post Cool Papa Bell, Sold At Fasig-Tipton’s Lexington Standardbred Sale, Makes History With Hambletonian Upset, Owner Sets Sights On Kentucky Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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